The Other Side

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other sideMy stomach sank with an unfamiliar panic as I read that my kids would be home from school for THREE WEEKS. 2021 me says Oh honey… to that girl who was horrified that these children wouldn’t go back to school until [GASP] after Easter! It makes me laugh a little now.

Someday, I’m sure this will be hysterical. For now, a head shake and exhausted chuckle will do. We truly had no idea what we were in for, which was probably a good thing because I’m not sure anyone would have been able to grasp what was in front of us. Honestly, I’m not sure anyone would have believed it, even if we’d been warned. 

The past year hasn’t been all bad for my family, something I recognize as an enormous privilege. I work for a nonprofit and am keenly aware of the true devastation in our community. I feel blessed that my family has fared well and that I can spend my days helping those who haven’t been as fortunate.

My initial panic in March 2020 settled in when I realized my “nights and weekend people” (as I lovingly referred to my husband and kids) would now be my ALL DAY EVERYDAY PEOPLE. And now, as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, a return to some kind of “normalcy,” there’s a strange new knot in my stomach that grows as I think of schedules, people, crowds, busy weekends…and did I mention, so many people!

Everything life had been was suddenly and startlingly ripped away, beyond anyone’s control or comprehension. As we reach the other side and I think about what’s next, I’m making some very calculated decisions about what comes back into my world and what stays gone forever. 

What I’ll Keep On The Other Side

  • A virtual connection that we now know is possible through Zoom. I’ve participated in some amazing workshops, courses, masterminds, and trainings over the past year that had previously been assumed to only work in an in-person setting. We’ve proved this not to be the case. Let’s continue connection beyond physical distance.
  • Accessibility beyond physical abilities – EVERYTHING can be done on Zoom. While it might not be preferred for everyone and everything, some events and opportunities had previously not been possible. Let’s continue to make things more accessible for those who are differently-abled.
  • Alone time. I always craved quiet, alone time, but making it a reality has been life-changing. Realizing that I can slow down, that I can sit in silence and relax without all of the “go-go-go” of life, and also knowing that the world won’t fall apart when I meditate or sneak off for a few minutes of silence. I’ll continue to carve out me-time and hide from the world to focus on myself.
  • Dance…yes, I did enjoy the break last year of not driving to a million dance classes and competitions, but geez, I definitely missed having my kids dance with their friends. I missed their connection at the studio and seeing them thrive in the chaos of competitions. So we’re keeping ALL THE DANCE.

What I’m Leaving Behind

  • High heels! Back in the day, I was a heels to the grocery store kind of girl. In the past year, I wore heels ONCE, and really only kind of because it was for a photo shoot, and I put them on only during the standing for pictures part. I think I may WANT to put on high heels at some point, but only for a VERY special occasion. So I’ve organized my fancy shoes in my closet in a lovely way so they’ll be neat and pretty to look at, and they’ll stay there for a while.
  • Driving my kids to and from school every day. I opted all three kids out of the bus in the hopes that it would minimize some risk and potential quarantining. This practice will be left behind, and I will do a happy dance when I watch these three get on their buses.
  • Zoom meetings that could have been phone calls…do I really need to put on makeup every time I speak to someone?

As we step out of our homes and back into the world, remember that you can choose what this next stage of life looks like for you. This year-long pause has, in many ways, given us a clean slate and an opportunity to rebuild in ways that feel more meaningful and authentic. 

What will your post-COVID world look like?

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Lauren Schwarzfeld was born and raised in Yorktown, and aside from college in Boston and a few months living in New York City, she has spent her entire life in Westchester. She has lived in Mt Kisco with her husband Karl since 2006, where they have three kids, Mia (2008), Jacob (2009), Abigail (2012), and two dogs, Edna (a four-year-old beagle) and Felix (a one-year-old pitbull-lab mix). Lauren is a writer, coach, and leader in community engagement. She helps women rediscover their strengths, passion, and confidence to reclaim their spot in their life and step outside the box of perceived expectations. Her goal is for women to create a future that is authentically and unapologetically their own. As the Chief Operating Officer at (914) Cares, a local non-profit, she combines her business background with a passion for volunteer work and desire to care for the community around her. Connect with Lauren on Facebook or through her website!